Nov 23, 2019; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Micale Cunningham (3) looks to pass against the Syracuse Orange during the second quarter at Cardinal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Louisville shuts down Syracuse, rolls to 30-0 rout

Malik Cunningham threw for a touchdown and ran for another to lift host Louisville to a convincing 30-0 victory over Syracuse on Friday in an Atlantic Coast Conference game.

Cunningham completed 19 of 28 passes for 219 yards with a pair of interceptions for the Cardinals (3-6, 2-6 ACC), who controlled the contest despite committing three turnovers in the first half.

Despite its miscues, Louisville finished with a pronounced edge in total yards (413-137), first downs (26-7) and time of possession (41 1/2 of the game’s 60 minutes).

The Cardinals’ Braden Smith recorded team highs in catches (seven) and receiving yards (65) and Tutu Atwell had a touchdown grab to send Syracuse (1-8, 1-7) to its sixth consecutive loss.

Freshman Jalen Mitchell rushed for a touchdown in the first game since fellow Louisville running back Javian Hawkins announced that he was opting out of the remainder of the season in preparation for the 2021 NFL Draft. Hawkins had ranked third in the ACC with 822 yards rushing.

Syracuse freshman JaCobian Morgan completed just 5 of 12 passes for 40 yards with an interception before sustaining an apparent head/neck injury in the third quarter. Morgan was hurt while being sacked by Yasir Abdullah.

James Turner converted field-goal attempts from a career-long 50 and 40 yards out to stake Louisville to an early 6-0 lead.

The Cardinals forced a turnover on the kickoff following the second field goal, with Ean Pfeifer recovering a fumble after Marlon Character stripped the ball from Nykeim Johnson. Mitchell capped a six-play, 31-yard drive by rushing up the middle from 2 yards out for his first career touchdown.

Cunningham scooted into the end zone from 4 yards out on the next possession to push Louisville’s advantage to 20-0 just before halftime. Cunningham’s rushing touchdown was his sixth of the season and the 17th of his career.

Cunningham completed an 11-play, 70-yard drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Atwell midway into the third quarter. Atwell’s touchdown reception was the 20th of his career.

Turner added a 33-yard field goal to cap the scoring in the fourth quarter.

–Field Level Media

Nov 14, 2020; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Malik Cunningham (3) attempts to avoid the sack by Virginia Cavaliers linebacker Nick Jackson (6) in the first quarter at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Louisville eager to cut down on turnovers vs. Syracuse

Louisville hasn’t been shy about shooting itself in the foot this season.

The turnover-prone Cardinals (2-6, 1-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) will look to limit their miscues on Friday night when they host Syracuse (1-7, 1-6).

Louisville held a 478-368 advantage in total yards last Saturday, but three costly turnovers led to its undoing in a 31-17 loss at Virginia. The Cardinals have 18 turnovers on the season.

“That was obviously the big difference in the (Cavaliers) game when you go back and watch it, but there’s a lot of plays that were good on both sides of the ball and we have got to continue to build off of it,” Louisville coach Scott Satterfield said. “We need to take care of the football and get this turnover margin going in our favor as we finish out these last three.”

Dual-threat quarterback Malik Cunningham passed for 161 yards and rushed for a career-high 197 and two touchdowns against Virginia. Fine numbers to be certain, but his fumble inside Cavaliers territory with 8:22 left in the game dashed any hope of a rally.

Cunningham, however, isn’t giving up on the season following Louisville’s second straight loss and sixth in seven games.

“We’re definitely playing for pride,” Cunningham said. “We want to win these games out. We’ve been trying to do everything right throughout the weeks. We’ve just been coming up short.”

Cunningham came up large against the Orange last season, throwing for a career-best five touchdowns and rushing for another in Louisville’s 56-34 win.

Louisville’s Javian Hawkins rolled up 233 yards and a touchdown on the ground in that game while teammate Tutu Atwell had five receptions for 152 yards and two scores.

Hawkins and Atwell, however, were two of seven Cardinals players who did not play against Virginia. Hawkins, who ranks fourth in the ACC with 822 yards rushing, announced on Monday that he was opting out of the remainder of the season and would enter the 2021 NFL Draft.

“(Hawkins) came in this week to talk about it, and he wasn’t fully decided on what he wanted to do. I think it hit home when one of his roommates tested positive,” Satterfield said. “He has a dream that he wants to go tackle that. Obviously for us, selfishly, we’d love to have him.”

Hassan Hall is expected to return after missing three games with an undisclosed injury to join redshirt freshman Jalen Mitchell and Maurice Burkley in the Louisville backfield.

Atwell, who is also nursing an undisclosed injury, is questionable to play Friday.

“No specifics,” Satterfield said of Atwell. “Should know more this week. I think he’ll be really close to be able to come back. The negative is that it’s a short week.”

The Cardinals have fared well when they are not committing turnovers. Louisville is averaging 27.9 points per game and 440.6 total yards while surrendering just 392.1. By comparison, Syracuse is averaging 18.3, 263.8 and 464.3, respectively.

The Orange fell under those two offensive numbers while dropping their fifth straight decision in their most recent outing, a 16-13 setback to Boston College on Nov. 7.

Syracuse freshman JaCobian Morgan completed 19 of 30 passes for 188 yards with one touchdown and one interception in his first career start.

“The team needs to carry JaCobian, JaCobian is young,” Orange coach Dino Babers said. “We need to all play better to make it easier on him.”

Taj Harris reeled in seven passes for 61 yards against the Eagles. He had a team-leading six catches for 58 yards in last year’s tilt versus the Cardinals.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2020; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange quarterback JaCobian Morgan (15) is tackled by Boston College Eagles linebacker John Lamot (28) in the second quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Boumerhi helps Boston College to narrow win over Syracuse

Sophomore quarterback Phil Jurkovec went 20-of-29 passing for 208 yards and a touchdown to lead Boston College to a 16-13 win at Syracuse in an ACC football game on Saturday.

The game was lower scoring than expected, given Boston College (5-3, 4-3) entered the game averaging 27.6 points a game, while Syracuse was averaging 19.0 points a contest.

The teams traded field goals to start, with senior kicker Aaron Boumerhi giving Boston College a 3-0 lead on a 33-yard field goal with 1:03 remaining in the first quarter and Syracuse junior Aaron Szmyt tying the game at 3-3 with 11:59 left until halftime on a 35-yard field goal.

Boston College took a 10-3 lead just before halftime on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Jurkovec to sophomore wideout Zay Flowers with 24 seconds left in the second quarter.

Szmyt kicked a 46-yard field goal with 6:20 left in the third to cut Boston College’s lead to 10-6, but the Eagles went back up by a touchdown at 13-6 on a 34-yard field goal by Boumerhi with 14:56 left in the game.

Boumerhi then gave Boston College a 16-6 lead with 2:05 remaining on a 22-yard field goal, but Syracuse didn’t go away quietly.

The Orange mounted a quick 75-yard drive down the field and scored their first touchdown of the game on a 1-yard touchdown pass from freshman JaCobian Morgan to senior tight end Aaron Hackett.

But Boston College successfully recovered an onside kick attempt by Syracuse and ran out the clock to preserve the win.

Morgan went 19-of-30 passing for 188 yards, a touchdown and an interception for Syracuse (1-7, 1-6), which has lost five straight games.

Junior running back David Bailey rushed for 125 yards on 25 carries and Flowers caught six passes for 64 yards to flank Jurkovec for Boston College, which outgained Syracuse, 399-240.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2020; Syracuse, New York, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons running back Christian Beal-Smith (26) is tackled by Syracuse Orange defensive lineman Josh Black (85) in the first quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Walker (3 TDs), Wake Forest too strong for Syracuse

Kenneth Walker III rushed for three touchdowns as visiting Wake Forest posted a 38-14 victory over Syracuse on Saturday in an Atlantic Coast Conference game.

The Demon Deacons (4-2, 3-2) won their fourth straight game as Walker scored in each of the first three quarters to push his team-leading touchdown mark to 11.

Jaquarri Roberson (seven receptions, game-best 130 yards) scored on a long touchdown catch for Wake Forest.

Sophomore quarterback Sam Hartman turned in another steady performance, completing 19 of 33 passes for 250 yards and a score.

The Orangemen (1-6, 1-5) played without quarterback Tommy DeVito, who missed his third straight game, and top rusher Sean Tucker also did not dress out.

Senior Rex Culpepper completed 15 of 27 passes for 85 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions as Syracuse dropped its fourth consecutive game.

Nick Sciba capped the game’s opening series by booting a 33-yard field at 10:06 to finish a 13-play, 60-yard possession. On the next series, Walker plunged in from 1 yard out to end a 12-play, 64-yard drive.

But Syracuse cut into the lead behind Nykeim Johnson, who set up the series with a 26-yard punt return. Four plays later, Culpepper found the senior wide receiver for 21 yards to make it 10-7.

Walker tallied his second TD by cutting back on a run to the right side, thwarting three attempted tackles and bulling into the end zone for a 17-7 lead that stood at the break.

The visitors added right away in the second half on their longest play of the season. Hartman stepped up in the pocket and connected with a wide-open Roberson behind blown coverage, and the wide receiver zipped 80 yards for a 24-7 lead.

Two plays later, Gavin Holmes sat on a route and returned an interception of Culpepper 32 yards for a 31-7 edge, but the freshman cornerback was injured on the play and had to be helped off the field.

Walker scored his third touchdown in the third, and Syracuse true freshman quarterback JaCobian Morgan tossed his first career score to Luke Benson for the final margin.

–Field Level Media

Oct 24, 2020; Clemson, South Carolina, USA;   Clemson safety Lannden Zanders (36) pressures Syracuse quarterback Rex Culpepper (17) during their game at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Clemson pulls away for 47-21 victory vs. Syracuse

Trevor Lawrence threw for 289 yards and two touchdowns and running back Travis Etienne scored three touchdowns as No. 1 Clemson pulled away from Syracuse for a 47-21 victory Saturday at Clemson’s Memorial Stadium.

Clemson improved to 6-0 overall for a sixth consecutive season and the 16th time in school history. The Tigers also moved to 5-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference play with their 27th straight victory against a league opponent.

Syracuse fell to 1-5, 1-4.

Clemson jumped out to a 17-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. Lawrence had a 25-yard touchdown pass to Cornell Powell, B.T. Potter added a 24-yard field goal and Etienne had a 25-yard scoring run to build the early lead.

After Syracuse got a seven-yard touchdown run by freshman running back Sean Tucker, Clemson pushed its lead to 24-7 with a 17-yard strike from Lawrence to tight end Davis Allen, who has had at least one touchdown reception in three straight games.

But after going 12 games and 366 passes without being intercepted, Lawrence was intercepted for a second consecutive game. Syracuse’s Garrett Williams picked off a pass that bounced out of the grasp of Clemson’s Amari Rodgers and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown with 1:18 left in the first half to cut Clemson’s lead to 24-14. It was the first “Pick 6” of Lawrence’s career.

Another Potter field goal, this time from 36 yards out with one second left in the half, gave the Tigers a 27-14 halftime lead, but the Orange burned Clemson with an 83-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Rex Culpepper to Nykeim Johnson to make it 27-21.

Clemson responded by scoring 20 unanswered points to pull away. Andrew Booth Jr. had a scoop and score 21-yard touchdown on a fumble by Culpepper and Etienne added short scoring runs of 9 and 1 yard to cap the scoring.

Etienne finished with 86 yards on 16 carries and moved within 43 yards of breaking the all-time ACC rushing record held by former N.C. State standout Ted Brown since 1978.

Culpepper completed 10 of 26 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown for the Orange, but he was intercepted three times. Tucker led Syracuse on the ground with 63 yards and a score.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Syracuse Orange quarterback Rex Culpepper (17) looks to pass  against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. The Panthers won 21-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Injury-riddled Syracuse ready for matchup with Liberty

Rex Culpepper likely will be under center as Syracuse steps out of ACC action for the only time this season Saturday, hosting non-conference foe Liberty.

Second-year starter Tommy DeVito likely was lost for the season last week after sustaining a left leg injury while being sacked for the fifth time in the Orange’s 38-24 loss to previously winless Duke.

While Syracuse coach Dino Babers officially hasn’t committed to starting Culpepper against the Flames (4-0), there is some familiarity with the redshirt senior. Culpepper has appeared in all four Syracuse games this season, completing 8 of 19 passes for 113 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

“I think that we can run our offense with him, and we will continue to run our offense,” Babers said. “Now we’re going to always have wrinkles. We’ll have wrinkles to try to move the football. But as far as changing what we do, we shouldn’t be drastically changing what we do with Rex behind center.”

Injuries are taking their toll on Syracuse (1-3), which will be without preseason All-American defensive back Andre Cisco for the remainder of the season.

Cisco collided with a teammate during pregame warmups prior to the Orange’s 37-20 victory over Georgia Tech on Sept. 26. He sustained a knee injury and hasn’t played since.

“Football’s physical, and that’s the part that makes it different from other sports. It’s the part that you embrace,” Babers said. “We understand that people are going to get hurt and that next guys have to step up. It’s what makes the game unique. We accept that part of it.”

Moreover, linebacker Geoff Cantin-Arku scored on a fumble return but later exited the contest with an undisclosed injury.

While the Orange forced four turnovers to boost their total to a nation-leading 14 through four games, the team was outgained 645-286 in total yards. Syracuse’s ground attack mustered just 28 yards on 23 carries in the loss.

The bright spot continues to be Taj Harris, who boosted his team-leading totals in catches (17), receiving yards (338) and touchdowns (three) while reeling in six for 138 yards and a score against the Blue Devils.

Liberty kept its perfect start intact with three special teams touchdowns in a 40-7 romp over Louisiana Monroe on Saturday.

Treon Sibley recovered a dropped snap in the end zone and blocked another punt attempt that was recovered by Chancellor Smith for a score. Demario Douglas had a 38-yard punt return that led to the Flames’ first touchdown and returned another 73 yards for a score in the fourth quarter.

“We brought everything we’ve got,” Sibley said, per The News & Advance. “We wanted to show that we’re not going to be played with on special teams and we’re going to make plays.”

Liberty’s defense held the Warhawks to 198 total yards of offense, highlighted by 11 three-and-outs on 14 offensive possessions.

“I think the special teams and our defense were as good as I’ve been around on a given day,” Flames coach Hugh Freeze said. “Man, give them great credit.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Syracuse Orange quarterback Rex Culpepper (17) looks to pass  against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. The Panthers won 21-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Injury-riddled Syracuse ready for matchup with Liberty

Rex Culpepper likely will be under center as Syracuse steps out of ACC action for the only time this season Saturday, hosting non-conference foe Liberty.

Second-year starter Tommy DeVito likely was lost for the season last week after sustaining a left leg injury while being sacked for the fifth time in the Orange’s 38-24 loss to previously winless Duke.

While Syracuse coach Dino Babers officially hasn’t committed to starting Culpepper against the Flames (4-0), there is some familiarity with the redshirt senior. Culpepper has appeared in all four Syracuse games this season, completing 8 of 19 passes for 113 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

“I think that we can run our offense with him, and we will continue to run our offense,” Babers said. “Now we’re going to always have wrinkles. We’ll have wrinkles to try to move the football. But as far as changing what we do, we shouldn’t be drastically changing what we do with Rex behind center.”

Injuries are taking their toll on Syracuse (1-3), which will be without preseason All-American defensive back Andre Cisco for the remainder of the season.

Cisco collided with a teammate during pregame warmups prior to the Orange’s 37-20 victory over Georgia Tech on Sept. 26. He sustained a knee injury and hasn’t played since.

“Football’s physical, and that’s the part that makes it different from other sports. It’s the part that you embrace,” Babers said. “We understand that people are going to get hurt and that next guys have to step up. It’s what makes the game unique. We accept that part of it.”

Moreover, linebacker Geoff Cantin-Arku scored on a fumble return but later exited the contest with an undisclosed injury.

While the Orange forced four turnovers to boost their total to a nation-leading 14 through four games, the team was outgained 645-286 in total yards. Syracuse’s ground attack mustered just 28 yards on 23 carries in the loss.

The bright spot continues to be Taj Harris, who boosted his team-leading totals in catches (17), receiving yards (338) and touchdowns (three) while reeling in six for 138 yards and a score against the Blue Devils.

Liberty kept its perfect start intact with three special teams touchdowns in a 40-7 romp over Louisiana Monroe on Saturday.

Treon Sibley recovered a dropped snap in the end zone and blocked another punt attempt that was recovered by Chancellor Smith for a score. Demario Douglas had a 38-yard punt return that led to the Flames’ first touchdown and returned another 73 yards for a score in the fourth quarter.

“We brought everything we’ve got,” Sibley said, per The News & Advance. “We wanted to show that we’re not going to be played with on special teams and we’re going to make plays.”

Liberty’s defense held the Warhawks to 198 total yards of offense, highlighted by 11 three-and-outs on 14 offensive possessions.

“I think the special teams and our defense were as good as I’ve been around on a given day,” Flames coach Hugh Freeze said. “Man, give them great credit.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Syracuse Orange quarterback Rex Culpepper (17) looks to pass  against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. The Panthers won 21-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Injury-riddled Syracuse ready for matchup with Liberty

Rex Culpepper likely will be under center as Syracuse steps out of ACC action for the only time this season Saturday, hosting non-conference foe Liberty.

Second-year starter Tommy DeVito likely was lost for the season last week after sustaining a left leg injury while being sacked for the fifth time in the Orange’s 38-24 loss to previously winless Duke.

While Syracuse coach Dino Babers officially hasn’t committed to starting Culpepper against the Flames (4-0), there is some familiarity with the redshirt senior. Culpepper has appeared in all four Syracuse games this season, completing 8 of 19 passes for 113 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

“I think that we can run our offense with him, and we will continue to run our offense,” Babers said. “Now we’re going to always have wrinkles. We’ll have wrinkles to try to move the football. But as far as changing what we do, we shouldn’t be drastically changing what we do with Rex behind center.”

Injuries are taking their toll on Syracuse (1-3), which will be without preseason All-American defensive back Andre Cisco for the remainder of the season.

Cisco collided with a teammate during pregame warmups prior to the Orange’s 37-20 victory over Georgia Tech on Sept. 26. He sustained a knee injury and hasn’t played since.

“Football’s physical, and that’s the part that makes it different from other sports. It’s the part that you embrace,” Babers said. “We understand that people are going to get hurt and that next guys have to step up. It’s what makes the game unique. We accept that part of it.”

Moreover, linebacker Geoff Cantin-Arku scored on a fumble return but later exited the contest with an undisclosed injury.

While the Orange forced four turnovers to boost their total to a nation-leading 14 through four games, the team was outgained 645-286 in total yards. Syracuse’s ground attack mustered just 28 yards on 23 carries in the loss.

The bright spot continues to be Taj Harris, who boosted his team-leading totals in catches (17), receiving yards (338) and touchdowns (three) while reeling in six for 138 yards and a score against the Blue Devils.

Liberty kept its perfect start intact with three special teams touchdowns in a 40-7 romp over Louisiana Monroe on Saturday.

Treon Sibley recovered a dropped snap in the end zone and blocked another punt attempt that was recovered by Chancellor Smith for a score. Demario Douglas had a 38-yard punt return that led to the Flames’ first touchdown and returned another 73 yards for a score in the fourth quarter.

“We brought everything we’ve got,” Sibley said, per The News & Advance. “We wanted to show that we’re not going to be played with on special teams and we’re going to make plays.”

Liberty’s defense held the Warhawks to 198 total yards of offense, highlighted by 11 three-and-outs on 14 offensive possessions.

“I think the special teams and our defense were as good as I’ve been around on a given day,” Flames coach Hugh Freeze said. “Man, give them great credit.”

–Field Level Media